What Is The Gilded Age

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In 1890, America was seen by millions of immigrants across the globe as the “Land of opportunity”. The place where anyone could become rich if they worked hard enough, equity was evenly distributed to all, and all could live comfortable and enjoyable lives. While for some this dream became a reality, the vast majority of these immigrants were dirt poor, living in cramped unsanitary living conditions, and working low paying, dead end jobs to scrape by while trustees sat on millions of dollars and lived lavish lives. This period of American history is simply known as the “Gilded Age” because although it was a time of prosperity for the US economy, life wasn’t as “golden” for the vast majority of the US population as it was made out to be. This…show more content…
In a study conducted in 2013 by The Economic Policy Institute, a financial think-tank devoted to analysing the ebbs and flows of the national economy, it was documented that while the average Massachusetts one-percenter grossed an annual household income of $1,692,079, the average ninety-nine percenter grossed a household income of only $56,115 which leaves us with a vast wealth gap of $1,639,964. It also states that the cumulative one-percent takes home nearly a quarter of all the income in the state. This is a perfect example of what it means to be gilded because although Massachusetts prides itself on its economic success, it’s evident that while the ninety-nine percent are becoming poorer, the one-percent are getting richer. This type of income inequality has existed in America for a very long span of time and was one of the main reasons that the first “Gilded Age” was considered “gilded” in the first place, according to the PBS.org’s “Andrew Carnegie: Rags to Riches timeline” Andrew Carnegie, one of the poster boys of the “golden” aspects of the “gilded age” due to his rise from immense poverty to extraordinary wealth, grossed in a grand total of nearly $25,000,000 in 1890 while the average public school teacher earned $256. This just further proves that we’re living in modern gilded age because although we 've improved the state of income inequality since the first gilded age, it’s still a big problem that affects us on a global
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